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(aka "Ray" or "Rai")


directed by Andrey Konchalovskiy
Russia/Germany 2017


Russian countess Olga (Yuliya Vysotskaya, HOUSE OF FOOLS) is arrested outside an apartment building in which a known resistance fighter lives after having barred the door from the French police to aide the escape of two Jewish children. She intrigues French police inspector Jules (Philippe Duquesne, A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT) who has kept secret his collaboration with the Nazis from his wife who suspects and fears reprisal if the Germans lose the current battle against the Soviets and his young son whose anti-German sentiments are equally dangerous. Olga uses her powers of seduction for better treatment and the possiblity of being released but Jules is abruptly gunned down by resistance fighters. Olga is then sent to a concentration camp where her work in the resistance means little to her fellow prisoners, including barracks leader Roza (Vera Voronkova) who resents her when she is picked to be the personal maid of SS officer Helmut (Christian Clauss) who has been sent to investigate corruption and thievery in the camps and has been obsessed with Olga since he met her at a weekend party in 1933. An aristocrat whose family fell on hard times, Helmut has bought into Hitler's speeches and has formulated a dream of a German paradise. Just as Olga starts to believe there is hope for herself and the two Jewish children that she has found in the camps, Helmut finds his ideals fracturing in light of the corruption he sees among his colleagues, the diminished morale in the fight against the Soviets and the increasing unlikeliness that the German can enter into a pact with the British against the Americans. The latest from Andrei Konchalovsky - co-writer of Tarkovsky's ANDREI RUBLEV who found American recognition as a director with more conventional fare like RUNAWAY TRAIN and TANGO & CASH before being relegated to telvision fare like the 2003 remake of THE LION IN WINTER and returning to Russia - is an intimate Holocaust drama dedicated to Russian emigrants in the French Resistance who fought the Nazi occupation to save Jewish children. Structured as a series of flashbacks intercut with to-the-camera interviews with Olga, Helmut, and Jules that tritely turn out to be conducted for their entrance into another kind of paradise, the film could honestly have lost about a half-hour or so because the story involving French police officer Jules is all about telling us about his obsession with Olga and only seems to exist to incorporate the collaboration of the Vichy government with the Nazis into the storyline, and the tension of a civil servant collaborating with the occupier while concealing it from his friend and neighbors is conveyed in a rather flat manner. Helmut's obsession with Olga is more palpably conveyed, but even his making his case for the ideals that lead to him becoming an SS officer will fail to engage the viewer unless one takes him as deluded as do others in the film. Olga's abrupt sacrifice in the film feels rather mechanical despite the nobility of the statements she makes the to camera. PARADISE is a gorgeous looking film dealing with momentous themes but comes across as underwhelming.

Eric Cotenas


Theatrical Release: 19 January 2017 (Russia)

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DVD Review: Film Movement - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Film Movement

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 2:11:36

1.32:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.43 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Russian/German Dolby Digital 5.1; Russian/German Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English
Features Release Information:
Studio: Film Movement

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.32:1

Edition Details:
� Short Film 'Red Snow' (22:45)
� Start-up Trailers

DVD Release Date: February 13th, 2018

Chapters 12



Film Movement affords this lengthy film a mid-range bitrate for its progressive, anamorphic, pillarboxed fullscreen image, but the combination of 35mm and 16mm photography with a number of shots making use of backlighting and diffusion to give it a look somewhere between vintage documentary and neorealist film means that there are quite a few shots that are intentionally soft but a higher bitrate or a Blu-ray presentation might have better conveyed the presentation in which the flashbacks and home movies are distinguished by the filmic textures rather than the style of filming (with characters sometimes "playing to" the camera in both). The Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 soundtrack is front-oriented with dialogue and some thin source music recordings more so than directional effects or atmosphere as if it was intended as or to mimic a mono mix. The only extras are an unrelated short film and some start-up trailers.

  - Eric Cotenas


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Film Movement

Region 1 - NTSC


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